How to Build a Children's Bookrack

Assembling the Shelves Step 1

To locate where the top and bottom will overlap the sides, lay out lines 1/2 inch from each end of the top and bottom pieces. Mark the top and bottom pieces for two screws in each side. Locate the screw 1 inch and 2 inches from the back and 7/8 inch from the ends.

Step 2

Position the top on the sides and predrill 1/8-inch pilot holes through the top into the sides where you marked for screws. Remove the top and use a 1/2-inch spade bit to counterbore to the depth required for the screw hole buttons. Repeat the process for the bottom-to-side connections.

Step 3

Install the top and bottom with glue and 1-5/8-inch-long #8 wood screws. Lay the bookcase front down. Set a 3/8-inch piloted rabbeting bit to 1/4-inch deep and rout a rabbet clockwise around the inside perimeter. Clamp a straight 2x4 flush with the back of each side to support the router.

Step 4

The routed rabbets will be rounded at the corners. To square them, place the flat back of a sharp chisel against the side of the rabbet and chop down to the bottom of the rabbet. Then hold the chisel horizontally and slice off the waste.

Step 5

Put glue in the rabbets and insert the back with the beaded side face down. Secure with 1-inch brads, being careful to nail straight down so the nails don't protrude through the sides. Turn the bookcase over. Wipe off excess glue inside the bookcase and check for square before the glue dries.

Step 6

Position the shelves inside the bookcase. Predrill and counterbore screw holes as in Step 2. Drive in two screws per connection and center the holes 1 inch and 2 inches from the back. Screw the shelves into place.

Step 7

Glue 1/2-inch mushroom plugs into the screw holes at the top, bottom, and sides of the bookcase. Use a wet sponge to wipe off any excess glue before it dries.

Step 8

Put glue on the back of each cleat and use 3/4-inch brads to nail them to the front of the back piece, one butted under the top piece and one under the lower shelf.

Refresher Course: Counterboring

Predrilling makes a hole for the screw's shank. Countersinking widens the top of the hole so the head can be driven flush. Counterboring makes that wider hole deeper to make room for filler or a plug. Spade bits are good for counterboring because they have a point you can stick into the predrilled hole. Use tape to mark the depth of the counterbore on the bit.

Nail Straight Down: Needle-Nose Pliers Help

To get a brad started straight without hitting your fingers with the hammer, hold the nail with needle-nose pliers while you start it.

Continued on page 5:  Finishing and Hanging the Bookrack


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